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The Little Professor

Things Victorian and academic.

Published: 2017-09-23T23:05:16-04:00


The Tudor Sisters: A Tale of National Sacrilege


It takes talent to write an entirely incompetent novel, and whoever wrote The Tudor Sisters: A Tale of National Sacrilege (1846) undoubtedly had talent. There is absolutely nothing right about this novel. It defies close reading. (Indeed, at times it...

This Week's (Belated) Acquisitions


"Paul Peppergrass" (pseud. Father John Boyce), Shandy M'Guire: Or, Tricks upon Travellers. A Story of the North of Ireland (Noonan, 1879). Reprint of Boyce's 1853 novel about Ireland in the 1820s, focusing on the hypocrisies of the local Protestant gentry...

Brief note: A Legacy of Spies


Near the conclusion of John le Carré's A Legacy of Spies, Peter Guillam, on his way to find George Smiley, asks himself, "[...] were we simply suffering from the incurable English disease of needing to play the world's game when...

This Week's Acquisitions


Michael Sims, ed., Frankenstein Dreams: A Connoisseur's Collection of Victorian Science Fiction (Bloomsbury, 2017). A new anthology including tales (and some excerpts from novels), mostly by famous authors not automatically associated with SF (e.g., Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kiping, and Edith...

This Week's Acquisitions


Chas L'Epine, The Devil in a Domino, ed. Simon Stern (Valancourt, 2017). Reprint of a pioneering Jack the Ripper novel, first published in 1897. (Amazon) Charles Fanning, The Irish Voice in America: 250 Years of Irish-American Fiction, 2nd ed. (Kentucky,...

On the plate for this semester


Once again, what is a full professor at a regional comprehensive doing this semester? Teaching: British Literature II (40+ students). I haven't taught this in three years or so; as always, I made some minor tweaks to the syllabus (e.g.,...

Friday Cat Blogging


Allan Armadale is what you call an immovable object, as his brother Ozias Midwinter has had frequent opportunities to discover.

This Week's (Belated) Acquisitions


(I really haven't been buying a lot of books lately.) Diane Robinson-Dunn, The Harem, Slavery, and British Imperial Culture: Anglo-Muslim Relations in the Late Nineteenth Century (Manchester, 2006). Analyzes how English attempts to eliminate the harem slave trade intersected with...

In the library of the future, books will remain in the collection for more than five seconds


Prior to uploading my Sherlock Holmes syllabus, I double-checked that the various book-chapters I assigned last time I taught the course were still alive and kicking. Er. Well. One of them was still around, although it had moved to an...

Mill's Inaugural Address and the Contemporary University (Or Not)


Below are some provisional thoughts I'm still working through about attempts to transplant John Stuart Mill to the contemporary university system. As a Victorianist (albeit not a philosopher), I'm always a bit cautious about using nineteenth-century thinkers to solve or...

This Week's Acquisitions


Julian Barnes, The Noise of Time (Vintage, 2017). Historical novel tracing the experiences of the composer Shostakovich as he deals with the conflict between art and crushing political pressures. (Lift Bridge)

This Week's Acquisitions


Benjamin Black, Wolf on a String (Henry Holt, 2017). John Banville writing under his mystery novelist pseudonym. At the end of the sixteenth century, a man undertakes a murder investigation for Rudolf II. (Lift Bridge) Marie-Luise Kohlke and Christian Gutleben,...

Friday Cat Blogging


For some reason, the cats have all been snoozing in the bathroom lately. This does make it somewhat difficult to get to the sink.

Stumpingford: A Tale of the Protestant Alliance; Jonah, and La Salette


My readers were no doubt waiting with bated breath to hear whether or not Daniel Parsons' Stumpingford (1854), newly rediscovered (in somebody's attic, presumably), would revolutionize our understanding of nineteenth-century British religious fiction--Catholic fiction, in particular. And the answer is......

This Week's Month's Acquisitions


(Rather fewer than usual this time around.) Daniel Parsons, Stumpingford: A Tale of the Protestant Alliance; Jonah, and La Salette (Thomas Richardson, 1854). Satirical tale about anti-Catholic activity in a small town. Previously featured here because it apparently no longer...